The People's Guide To Mexico

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The People's Guide to Mexico: Articles & Letters, Questions & Answers

Mother' Day

Mother's Day is a big deal in Mexico, and San Martin is no exception. The schools all get together and have a big day of fiesta in honor of the Moms, with dances, poetry, songs, a raffle and then a huge meal of birria - goat stew cooked in a brick horno (oven), soda and half size bottles of beer.... (more) by Dobi

Gisela's Flan

This non-traditional flan was prepared for us by Gisela, when we stayed in Ken & Barbara Luboff's house in San Miguel de Allende. I have always been a serious flan fan, but Carl has never liked it. However, even he can't seem to stay away from this one.... (more) by Lorena Havens

Buying Property in the Lake Chapala Area

In the last decade or so, it is estimated that more than 10,000 foreigners have purchased property on the Northshore of Lake Chapala. Long prized as a weekend retreat by wealthy Guadalajarans, the villages from Lake Chapala to Jocotepec now boast an expatriate community said to be the largest in the world. Ajijic has become the prime location for foreigners because of its infrastructure of services, such as internet access, and the existence of the Lake Chapala Society, an English-speaking resource for newcomers and residents.... (more) by Tony Harries & Teresa A. Kendrick

Dia de Amistad

I like the spin Mexico puts on St. Valentine's Day,'s the Day of Friendship.... I remember a February 14th years ago here on the beach when Steve, Churpa and Jacques all spent the day making valentines. I got no sentimental lacey heart from Steve. No, mine from Steve was a drawing of an anatomical heart with extra tubes and the saying, "Don't by-pass my love."....(more) by Tina Rosa

Garlic Soup

Eat enough of this Mexican favorite and it will protect you from stomach troubles, mosquitoes and unwanted company.... (more) from The People's Guide to Mexico

King of The Moon

Good novels about Mexico are as rare as a Blue-Eyed Iguana. Many aspiring novelists feel compelled to exaggerate Mexico, which is unfortunate because the real Mexico and real Mexicans are far more fascinating than a Mexico depicted by a runaway imagination....Mr. Kira constructs an utterly believable saga about life in a remote Baja fish camp in the middle third of this century. The characters are complex and the dangers formidable as the pangueros and their families go about living solely at the whim of the elements.... (more) by David "El Codo" Eidell

•History as Commodity, in San Miguel de Allende

Imagine my fascination with the half-millennium of New World history laid like a blanket over the eons of lost civilizations that constitute the past of the cities and hamlets of the central Mexican plateau. In 1981, many of the elderly residents of San Miguel de Allende’s thermal-watered outskirts spoke only Otomi, and history and mystery continue to sell Mexico to tourists.... (more) by Sareda Milosz

Studying Spanish at Encuentros

Recently I attended 3 weeks of Spanish classes at Encuentros, in Cuernavaca. Jeannie, the director, is extremely competent and was very helpful. As a results of years of learning a bit here and a bit there, my Spanish is a real mishmash. Jeannie designed a study program for me that improved my Spanish very rapidly... (more) by Lorena Havens

Pizza in Reynosa

I'm a youth minister, and over the past few years, I've taken groups of kids to Reynosa to help out at an orphanage. After finishing our jobs, on our last full day in Mexico, I took them to the tourist district where they could buy blankets, drink 'aguas' etc. They had a ball and after we met back in the plaza, they said they wanted pizza for dinner.... (more) by Rod Scofield

• AIDs in Mexico

The spread of SIDA (AIDS) and sexually transmitted diseases in Latin America is a problem of terrible dimensions. I seriously considered dropping the chapter on Brothels from the latest edition of The People's Guide, then decided it was better to include a warning on AIDS -- rather than pretend the subjects of sex and prostitution don't exist in Mexico....(more) From The People's Guide to Mexico

• The Ayudante as Folk Hero 

...the second-class bus careening round the bend, the never-ending bends of Guatemala’s Western Highlands. The skinny young man in jeans and tee shirt vaulted up the back of the front-row seat; his feet on the seatback, his rear end propped against the side of the bus, he extended his arms, a wad of quetzales in his left hand, collected fares with his right hand from everyone within reach. by Louise Lander

• Buying used books on Mexico

After looking through the books listed on the PG site I went out looking in the Bay Area for three: Judas at the Jockey Club, A War of Witches and Mexican Slang Plus Graffiti. Believe it or not, I could find none of them here. After I struck out here, I tried the online version of one of my favorite book stores in the world: Powell's in Portland....(more) by by P.G. Meier

• Back Trail to Palenque not safe for Women

Gringos often find themselves intoxicated by a heady sense of freedom when they venture south of the border. However, I continually caution travelers — especially women — that for all of the modern changes that have come to Mexico in the past years, the culture remains very conservative and macho-oriented. In the following letter, Rachel Greenberg describes a terrifying close call in the jungle near Palenque...(more) by Rachel Greenberg


Visit our greatly expanded "For More Information" section, with reviews of Our Favorite Mexico Books & Websites

Dear Carl & Lorena.

Is there likely to be a Part IV + to Budget Living In PV? I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these articles and hope you can persuade Robert and Deborah Foster to write more for the Peoples' Guide site. Thanks, Joseph Keller

Lorena's Note: I'm happy to tell you that Robert agreed to your suggestion. We've already added his next article below.

•Buying Restricted-Zone (Coastal and border zone) property

First, as most folks are aware, Mexican residential property in the coastal or border zones can be legally purchased by foreigners, but only through the fideicomiso (bank trust) method set up expressly for this purpose by the federal government....(more) by Robert Foster


But the best thing I found in Nexpa was myself. My mother had died a year earlier and I had not been myself since. In Nexpa I found the patience that had been escaping me. I again found the "time" to marvel at life. It began with the waves, watching them break smoothly, over and over again, from left to right.... (more) by Patt Riese

Tina recently sent: "Several of my travel missives about my Mexico pilgrimage have been stuck in a dead computer for a couple of months and have just recently been liberated. I will be sending them on to you soon."

So, we now continue with Tina's Travels in Mexico


I've recently finished Victor Villasenor's family biography, "Rain of Gold", a rich historical recounting of how both branches of his Mexican rooted family were forced by revolution to migrate to the north, to the United States. In it he tells the magnificent love story of his parents. Do loves like that truly happen?....(more) by Tina Rosa

•Machismo & Two Teen-age Daughters

Bought People’s Guide at Sandy’s book store in Guadalajara. Read the chapter on machismo in the morning and it saved our lives that evening, when I took my teen-age daughters to a fiesta at the local church.(more)

•Traveling "?!Sola!?"

"I spent 3 months (march 99-june 99) traveling around Mexico alone (or "¡¿¡sola!?!" as mexicano/as were fond of exclaiming), in my Toyota one ton pickup equipped with locking tool chest...." (more) by Patt Riese

•Clearing the Land

Lorena's Note: Dobie and Sergio are homesteading in a former coconut plantation on Mexico's Pacific Coast. From their latest update:

"Sergio and I and our friend Martin headed out early one morning to begin clearing. We were armed with machetes, my trusty bow saw and Martin's chain saw. We decided to start with the east side, which was by far the most overgrown, and according to Martin would be the most difficult because of the huitzacotle trees (I think that's what they're called) - easily the most obnoxious tree I've ever encountered...." (more) by Dobie

•Hurricane A-Coming

I glanced at Arturo's camp through a pair of field glasses and with a start realized that the entire family was disassembling their driftwood and blue tarp house...."Oye David" Artúro began "I was going to tell you that Pecho, my brother-in-law believes that a very ugly storm is coming". He motioned toward the east...." (more) by David "El Codo" Eidell

• Mexico's President Axes Mitsubishi Baja Salt Plant!

• Oaxaca Handbook

Most guidebooks on Mexico devote 10, maybe 20 pages to Oaxaca.... I’ve always been left hungry for more.... Well, my hunger has finally been satisfied. In the Oaxaca Handbook. Bruce Whipperman offers a complete menu of not just the valley of Oaxaca, but the entire state.Whipperman has a special interest in outdoor activities and ecological tourism. He emphasizes hiking in Oaxaca’s national parks and other natural attractions. He enthusiastically writes of people working to improve the ecology of the places where they P.G. Meier

•Belize: Visit, Live, Retire, Virtual exploration

•Belize Retirement Guide: How to Live in a Tropical Paradise on $450 a Month

Sometime in the 1980's, Bill and Claire Gray pulled the plug and escaped from California to the Central American country of Belize. You can probably guess the rest: Fleeing the land of smog and gridlock, they were soon hiding out on the beach, lapping up the sunshine, tropical fruits and seafood, living like royalty on a peasant's budget. (more)

•Aconchi Hotsprings

Once you are in Aconchi, there is a dirt road that is very passable. There is an old sign pointing out the dirt road, it is one block north of the sign pointing out the church on the main highway in Aconchi, closer to the north end of town. The dirt road goes off to the west. About 4 miles down this road you get to the beautiful & well-maintained hot springs.... (more) by Patt Riese

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